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Old 04-29-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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I think I'm falling in love with Columbine.

Never like them before, thought they were too whispy...and I still hate the foliage. Love the flower, hate the greens and leaves.

One blog I saw said the attract bees big time. Is this true?
All --many -- flowers do, to a certain extent. Do columbines attract an inordinate number of bees?

The blog said if you don't want bees around you doors, entrances, exits, windows etc -- where people will be passing -- don't put them there.

FROM GARDEN CHANNEL.com: "If you want to see hummingbirds outside your window, try a window box. ... If you don’t want bees on your doorstep, place columbine away from entrances."

Mine WOULD be on the front porch -- where I do already have plants including chelone, gaura, cosmos, cleome hybiscus, asiatic lilies, butterfly weed, zinnia, phlox. (I've put down seeds for hollyhock larkspur, delphinum, foxglove...but don't know what will come up yet.

So I'd be adding the columbine to these.... And they may be to high maintenance for me..shallow soil, can't dry out, spread wide....

Do you like columbine? What can you tell me about them?
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:49 PM
 
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Hmm, I don't notice a lot of bees around my columbines, but then again I have so many blooming perennials and bees I could be wrong. Where I live, columbines bloom in the spring, much earlier than many of the flowers you listed. Then they go dormant for the summer. I don't think I would be worried about any bees columbines might attract for their short blooming period.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:08 PM
 
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I love my columbine! I don't notice bees around it, but I do notice those hummingbird moths (no real hummingbirds, though). My columbine naturalizes and has hybridized, so I have some interesting combinations, some YARDS away from where I originally planted it.


You are planning to grow in the same area you have butterfly weed and zinnia? What is your sun exposure there? Butterfly weed and zinnia, for me, will only grow in extreme sun conditions, and columbine likes partial sun to partial shade. My columbine is growing HUGE in very shady areas. In fact, I have one plant that is now about 2+ feet tall!

The PP is correct that columbine blooms early in the season, so it is "done" by the time most bees come around.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:57 PM
 
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My columbines are currently blooming and I have rarely spotted any bees or wasps on them, at least no more than half a dozen other flowers around them in the garden. There may be differences in which Columbine variety you have since they seem to have different pollinators based on their color and length of the spur. Currently most of mine are pale pink this year and last year they were blue or pale purple/blue shades. I love the yearly "surprise" in color.

I can't speak for all varieties and types but I don't think they are high maintenance at all but they are not full sun plants and do need protection from the afternoon sun, especially in the south where I live. Mine have done best on the north side of my home and are happy in about the same conditions as the Astilbe, Hosta, Pulmonaria, Calla Lilies and Heuchera near them: morning sun and by 1 PM in shade. An elderly lady in my neighborhood has them scattered all over her property under big oak trees and never waters or fusses. Some make it and some don't but she has them every year. All of hers are the Eastern red Columbine variety

I haven't found any scientific basis or papers stating that there is an abnormal risk of bee problems with any of them. I did come across an interesting little blurb about the plant that may explain which ones might be "safer" as a plant if you are worried about being near bees.

Native Plants: Beyond the Birdfeeder. Gardening for birds and other wildlife. Wild Columbine
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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I absolutely love my columbine, and for me, they are a super low-maintenance plant. I love reliable perennials, ones that I have only to deadhead in order to keep the blooms going for several weeks. Here in New Hampshire, they do well in dappled shade, and are amongst the earliest spring bloomers (just a few weeks after the bleeding heart blossoms have faded. Here are a few of the columbine I have in my yard:










I've never noticed many bees near the columbine, however, I do like them paired with a plant that attracts TONS of bees. Catmint (the purple upright flowers seen in the 1st and 4th pictures) attracts bees and butterflies. Just something to keep in mind...
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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I have several varieties of columbine and have never noticed them to highly attract bees. I do have them mixed with catmint (like Valerie C.), lady's mantle, and astilbes. This adds some variance in the color - particularily in the mid - lower level of the plant.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:04 PM
 
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I'm doing more reading about columbines...

-- they bloom spring and summer, right? But they're not too close to the end of their bloom period to make it worth while to go buy some plants, are they?

-- what about seeds, too late?

Also, the leafminer and other 'pest' issues like moths...how big a nuisance are they?

I haven't decided about them, basically they're so-called "easy care," but seem to have pest issues.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
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Love those pics, wish mine looked that great, of course, being in NE Wis. not blooming yet!

I created a flower bed along a 50 foot fence on the north side of my yard. I wish I had pics before & after, a major project. I moved all the plants previous owner had in sun right up against foundation.

It has a shade, medium shade plus a small section of total sun. I had columbines in total shade at first, this spring they look so much better, getting a little sunshine. Previous owner had them in total sun, not good then I shocked them with total shade, so hopefully the 3rd move is the charm!
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
I'm doing more reading about columbines...

-- they bloom spring and summer, right? But they're not too close to the end of their bloom period to make it worth while to go buy some plants, are they?
That's correct. I would think planting now would be fine. You probably won't get much from them this year, but you will get some enjoyment.

Quote:

-- what about seeds, too late?
I would think so.

Quote:
Also, the leafminer and other 'pest' issues like moths...how big a nuisance are they?

I haven't decided about them, basically they're so-called "easy care," but seem to have pest issues.
I had leaf-miners one year. That's it. I did nothing to get rid of them, did nothing to prevent them, did nothing about them. They ate through some foliage, but didn't kill the plant. They also never came back.

I've never had issues with any other pests.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Buffalo, New York
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Pros for me:
They are early bloomers filling in that awkward time between spring and summer with some color.
I like the foliage better than the flowers.

Cons:
They self seed everywhere.
During summer they can get a skimpy/beat up look to them. As to say, they don't really look right as a stand alone plant.
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